Three times as many females as males say that using social media is their “favorite leisure activity” but nearly twice as many females over age 21 “believe they spend far too much time on online social media”, according to a survey of social media users conducted by Crowd Science using its research platform for online audience measurement. The study (pdf) found that 34% of females vs. only 10% of males of females who use social media say it was their favorite leisure activity. However, more than half (54%) of female respondents ages 21+ believe they spend far too much time on online social media. This compares with only 38% of males in the same age group.
Moreover, 45% of females older than age 30? believe that most people are interested in what they have to say on social media, vs. just 29% of males the same age, according to Crowd Science.
Recent data analyzed by Pingdom similarly found that social network usage skews female and that the average male-to-female ratio of users on 19 of the top US? social networks is 47% male and 53% female. Bebo – with 66% of women users – is the most female-dominated of these sites, Pingdom said.
Young Users Also Regretful
In addition to feelings of overdoing social media by women, younger participants in the study also feel they use social media too much – 46% of teens (17 and under) and 38% of 18-29 year-olds. This figure drops dramatically to 23% for the 30-39 demographic, and 12% for those 40+.
With almost half of teenage participants admitting to over-use of social media, a similar proportion (44%) reported posting or saying things that they later regretted (vs. 30% for 18-29, 20% for 30-39 and 12% for 40+).
More than one-third of teens (35%) say they have used social media to reveal personal info that they wouldn’t have revealed otherwise (vs. 20% for 18-29, 8% for 30-39 and 5% for 40+). Despite these revelations on social media, about one-fifth of all participants under 30 (21% for teens, 19% for 18-29) say it would be “extremely damaging to my social status if I stopped or reduced my use of online social media.” Only 5% of 30-39 year-olds said this, and 3% of those ages 40+.
Additional study findings:
- One-quarter of respondents feel forced to use online social media because friends and contacts do (25%).
- One-in-ten respondents agree to “frequently stretching the truth when portraying themselves online.”
- One third of respondents (32%) would rather communicate with friends/contacts through social media than by telephone.
- While about eight in 10 respondents disagree that social media are preferable to face-to-face contact with friends, almost one in 10 actually prefers to use online social media over face-to-face.
“The results of our study align with most people’s intuition about the usage of social media by teens and young adults,” said John Martin, CEO of Crowd Science. “As the economy recovers and this generation starts interviewing for jobs, there will be some interesting years ahead as they have to deal with a new level of transparency around their past adventures (and misadventures). I’m definitely glad I made it out of school before Facebook landed.”Twitter Users Most Entrenched
The study also examined the social networks used and the relationships among them in terms of their users. It found that Twitter users are more entrenched across the top three social media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter) than are Facebook and MySpace users, with one-half of Twitter users involved with all three social media (49%) compared with one-fifth of Facebook users, or one-third of MySpace users, who use all three.
Morover, the vast majority (87%) of MySpace users also use Facebook, vs. only one-half of Facebook members who also use MySpace.
When examining overlap of the three social media, Facebook users yield the largest proportion of exclusive users (35%) vs. MySpace (10%) or Twitter (7%), Crowd Science found.
About the study: The Crowd Science study on social media users was conducted across more than 600,000 visitors to multiple websites within the Crowd Science open research network. The survey, targeting social media users ages 13+, was conducted August 5-13, 2009.